While politicians across America furiously resist the idea of transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to their communities, one small Michigan town is lobbying to get them.
Standish, Mich., Mayor Kevin King is looking at the terrorism suspects as a possible new lease on life for the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, a major source of economic activity for his town that is scheduled to close at the end of this month.
It has been a lonely struggle, however. His proposal has angered state lawmakers who want involvement in the process, divided the region's residents and prompted a series of heated town-hall meetings.
King says that unless a way is found to keep the prison open, his community of 1,500 people will face economic devastation and be on the hook for millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements planned to service the prison.
"Financially, looking at what the closing of this state prison is doing to Standish, it's a no-brainer. We need someone in that prison. From a financial perspective, it's a viable option," King said. "We need someone in there to pay the bills."
The Standish City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on a resolution to support transferring more than 200 incarcerated terrorism suspects to Standish when President Obama fulfills his promise to close the detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.